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Girard board delays project at complex

Cites reduced state dollars for performing arts center pause

GIRARD — The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed plans for a performing arts center at the Girard High / Middle School complex off Shannon Road.

The board of education at its meeting this month said reduced state funding caused by the coronavirus has caused the delay.

“We have to wait and see what the state is doing with district finances. There is a lot of uncertainity for school districts for what is ahead. No one is sure what the next school year will be like,” Board President Mark Zuppo said.

He said the project still will be done “down the road.”

Plans are for a 1,000-seat performing arts auditorium area to be added and be used for school programs and graduations.

The auditorium would be constructed on the west side of the high school. The board previously hired Axiom Architects LLC of Youngstown at $600,000 for the design and planning of the auditorium addition that the board originally wanted to have in place for the 2020-21 school year.

The school’s cafetorium, which has a stage, is limited on how many people can fit inside the room for school events. Graduations and other functions have been moved to the gymnasium.

School officials said the school complex doesn’t have enough room to house the entire student body at once in the cafetorium, which prompted them to consider building an auditorium. The cafetorium has a stage area, which is used for plays and musical performances.

In other business, Superintendent Brian O’Hara said in preparing for the next school year the district has sent out a survey to families of possible options for the 2020-21 year.

Zuppo said both in-school and out-of-school learning has been discussed, but nothing has been finalized.

O’Hara said the survey was sent out recently and a committee will be formed to look over the results as officials plan for the upcoming school year. He said the survey asked parents of how things went when the schools closed mid-March.

“We are waiting for guidelines from the state and also have to address how we present learning digitally. The survey will help us determine what worked well and what did not and addressing transportation,” O’Hara said.

The survey is on the district’s website and is to be returned by July 10 for officials to review.

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